HIT OR MISS by Jeff Markowitz | #Showcase #Interview #Giveaway

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Hit Or Miss

by Jeff Markowitz

April 1-30, 2021 Tour


Hit Or Miss by Jeff Markowitz

When you’re twenty-one years old, it can be hard, under the best of circumstances, to balance the expectations of your father and the desires of your girlfriend. For Ben Miller and his girlfriend Emily Bayard, circumstances are far from perfect.

Emily’s mother has been murdered. Ben’s father, a detective in Dutch Neck, catches the case. It’s not long before evidence suggests that Emily’s father may be responsible for the death of his wife.

Set against the backdrop of the cultural and political unrest associated with the war in Viet Nam, Emily and Ben find themselves attracted by the politics and lifestyle of the counter-culture.

As Detective Miller conducts the homicide investigation and Dr. Bayard attempts to keep an affair with his secretary secret, everyone else in the town of Dutch Neck that summer of 1970 has the same question.

Who is responsible for the death of Rosalie Bayard?

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: WiDo Publishing
Publication Date: December 29, 2020
Number of Pages: 278
ISBN: 9781947966482
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


Author Bio:

Jeff Markowitz

Jeff Markowitz is the author of 5 mysteries, including the award-winning dark comedy, Death and White Diamonds. His new book, Hit Or Miss, was released in December 2020. Part detective story, part historical fiction, part coming of age story, Hit Or Miss is an Amazon Hot New Release in political fiction. Jeff spent more than 40 years creating community-based programs and services for children with autism, before retiring in 2018 to devote more time to writing. Jeff is Past President of the NY chapter of Mystery Writers of America.

Q&A with Jeff Markowitz

What was the inspiration for this book?

Write what you know. We’ve heard the advice a thousand times. But what do we know and how do we know it? And equally important, what don’t we know? The stories that I write evolve from a combination of experience, research, and imagination.

When it comes to technology, I am something of a Luddite. There are plenty of authors who write high tech stories and fast paced thrillers. That’s not me and that’s not the kind of story I should be writing. I write character-driven mysteries in which complex relationships, rather than technology, drive the action. That pushed me in the direction of writing an Historical Mystery. Of course, I could have set the story in most any time period other than today.

Once I settled on 1970, I knew I wanted to address what we used to refer to as the “generation gap.” This created an opportunity to view the story not only from the perspective of the detective, but also from the detective’s son, and from the son’s girlfriend as well, who happens to be the daughter of the victim.

A complex set of personal relationships drives the storytelling, but, at its core, Hit or Miss remains a straightforward detective story as Detective Miller pursues the truth about the murder of Rosalie Bayard.

What has been the biggest challenge in your writing career?

I have often said, I may not have the most readers, but I have the best readers. My books don’t always fit neatly into a particular genre or subgenre and that can create a challenge to building readership. According to my publisher, Hit or Miss is classified as a Detective Story/Historical Fiction and I think that’s accurate. According to Amazon, the paperback is a Mystery, but the ebook is not. The ebook is listed as Political Fiction/Coming-of-Age Story. In fact, when it was released, the ebook was an Amazon Hot New Release in Political Fiction.
I believe that readers want a good story, well told, and that is always what I try to write. The challenge, at times, is to connect with “my” readers.

What do you absolutely need while writing?

I need a story that I love and not enough time to write it.

Do you adhere to a strict routine when writing or write when the ideas are flowing?

I do my best writing early in the morning, on a desktop computer in my family room. It has been my routine now for nearly two decades and it works for me. I spend the rest of the day thinking about what I’m writing and jotting down key words on post-it notes that pile up on the dresser in my bedroom. If I took the time to put the post-it notes in sequential order, it would almost look like I knew what I was doing.

Every writer has to figure out what works best for them and then develop habits to support that process.

Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

I guess I have two favorite characters – Ben Miller and Emily Bayard. The book’s back cover copy tells you why –

When you’re twenty-one years old, it can be hard, under the best of circumstances, to balance the expectations of your father and the desires of your girlfriend. For Ben Miller and his girlfriend Emily Bayard, circumstances are far from perfect. Emily’s mother has been murdered. Ben’s father, a detective in Dutch Neck, catches the case. It’s not long before evidence suggests that Emily’s father may be responsible for the death of his wife.

Tell us why we should read your book.

There are more than 3 million ISBNs registered in the United States and new books are being published every day. The challenge both for writers and for readers is to connect. As a reader, how do you find the right storytellers for you? Reading book blogs is one very good way to find your next favorite author.

If you’ve read this far, thank you. Perhaps I’ve made a connection. If I have, I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Hit or Miss. I think you’ll like it.

Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book?

In May 1970, more than 100,000 protesters converged on the National Mall in Washington DC to protest the wart in Viet Nam and the shooting of student protesters by the National Guard on the campus at Kent State. In my story, Emily Bayard meets President Nixon at the demonstration. Some readers may find it unrealistic to have the President chatting amiably with protesters on the morning of the demonstration, but that is historically accurate. There is, however, no evidence that he invited one of the protesters to join him for breakfast in the White House.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you for caring about books.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I spent more than forty years creating community-based programs and services for children and adults with autism, including twenty-five years as President and Executive Director of the Life Skills Resource Center, before retiring in 2018 to devote more time to writing.
I wrote my first four books while I was still working full-time. My first mystery, Who is Killing Doah’s Deer, was published in 2004; it introduced readers to tabloid reporter and amateur sleuth Cassie O’Malley. Cassie returned in 2006 in A Minor Case of Murder and again in 2009 in It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Murder. In 2015, my standalone black comedy Death and White Diamonds won a Lovey Award and a David Award. Now that I’m retired, I write at a more civilized hour.
When I set out to learn the craft and the business of writing, many mystery writers were generous with their time and their talent. I’m proud to have had the opportunity to pay it forward. In 2018 – 2019, I served as President of the New York Chapter of Mystery Writers of America.

What’s next that we can look forward to?

For now, I’m focusing on short fiction. I have a short story about to be released in Murder Most Diabolical, the Malice Domestic 2021 anthology. I also have a short story in Jewish Noir 2, coming out later this year. I’m currently writing a novella, but I’m not ready to talk about it yet.

Catch Up With Jeff Markowitz:
BookBub – @JeffMarkowitz
Twitter – @JeffMarkowitz1


Read an excerpt:

Thousands of young people were on the mall, and more were streaming in by the minute. Willow, and her hippie friends staked out a spot near the Lincoln Memorial. Emily wandered the length of the National Mall, from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capital Building and back again, determined to take it all in. There was a buzz in the morning air. The President appeared unannounced on the Ellipse at dawn and chatted with a small group of demonstrators. He wished them an enjoyable stay in the nation’s capital. Everyone Emily met on the Mall claimed to have seen him. The day was hot; the Mall was dry and dusty. There were crowds of people everywhere, an uneasy mixture of antiwar protestors, soldiers and police units, newsmen and onlookers. Protestors flashed peace signs and sang the fish cheer. Young Republicans responded with middle-finger salutes.

Emily didn’t know most of the speakers at the demonstration, but she like the message. End the Cambodian incursion. End the war in Vietnam. She located a pay phone and used her spare change to call Ben.

“It’s amazing. You should be here.” She had to yell to be heard. Demonstrators continued to pour into the Mall. “Is anything happening in Dutch Neck?”

“You need to come home.”

“Don’t be like that.”

“That’s not what I mean. It’s your mother.”

“What about my mother?”

Ben didn’t answer right away. The phone line crackled with static.

A scuffle broke out on the Mall. Police moved in quickly, weapons at the ready, cutting the small group of protestors off from the larger crowd. The confrontation pulled Emily’s attention away from the phone call.

“Your mother is dead.”

Later, the news would report that there were more than one hundred thousand demonstrators on the national mall, but at that moment, amidst the pushing and shoving, Emily felt like she was alone in the world. Without more change to feed the phone, the line went dead. She dropped the pay phone and turned, nearly bumping into a cop.

“Stay back,” he ordered, his hand on his weapon.

“She’s dead,” she replied and kept walking.

He pointed the gun at Emily’s head. “Who’s dead?”

She could feel anger in the policeman, but also restraint. Days removed from Kent State, it was as if no one wanted to provoke the next shooting. The policeman holstered his weapon. Shouts of “pig” were replaced by prayers for peace. Emily breathed a sigh of relief and answered the officer’s question.

“My mother.”

“Do you have a way to get home?”

Emily told the officer about Miss Cooper and the apartment on C Street. He offered to give her a ride. If anyone saw her in the patrol car, she would tell them that she had been arrested.

No one answered when she knocked on the apartment door. The apartment manager was polite, but firm. She would have to leave.

“Do you need money for a bus ticket?” The officer reached for his wallet. “I’ll drop you off at the bus station.”

When Emily left Dutch Neck, her mother had been alive. If she got on a bus, she would be admitting that her mother was dead. She wasn’t prepared to deal with that. Not yet. So she decided to spend another night in DC. As long as she remained in DC, she told herself, she could pretend that nothing was wrong at home. And maybe, just maybe, she could help end the war.

With no place else to go, she retraced her steps.

The crowd at the National Mall was smaller. There was a chill in the air, the midday heat a distant memory. It was a tough night, out on the mall, trying not to think about her mother. Instead she thought about the American boys who were spending the night in rice paddies on the other side of the world, probably trying not to think about their mothers too, and she knew that this was a small price to pay to end the war. At four in the morning, an older man approached. He was dressed like an off-duty policeman heading out to play a round of golf.

“Are you here to end the war, miss?”

“Yes, I guess I am,” She took a closer look at the middle-aged man and jumped to her feet, “Mr. President?”

President Nixon chuckled quietly.

“But, what…”

“I couldn’t sleep. I thought some fresh air would do me good.”


“You know, sometimes I think you young people actually believe that I like being at war.”

Emily didn’t know how to answer the Commander in Chief. “Begging your pardon sir, but it does sometimes seem that way.”

“Let me tell you something miss… by the way, we haven’t been properly introduced. My name is Richard Nixon and yours is?”

“Emily Bayard.” She started to raise her fist in protest, like Bug, during the demonstration, but couldn’t extend her arm, not while she was standing face-to-face with the President. She looked around, grateful that Willow and her friends weren’t there to see her pitiful attempt at protest.

“Well, Emily, let me tell you something. I think I hate this war more than you do. But sometimes war is the necessary thing to do.”

“But you could end the war, sir. You could end the war today.”

“General Westmoreland tells me we need two more years to achieve our goals. You wouldn’t want us to leave now, without achieving our goals. Give me two more years Emily, and I’ll end the war. You have my word on it.”

“I don’t think I can do that, sir.”

President Nixon shook his head in sadness. “You young people can be so impatient.”

“In a few weeks, I’ll be graduating from college.”

“Congratulations. And then?”

“I don’t know. But I have classmates… friends… They’ve been called up. In two years’ time, they could be dead.”

President Nixon didn’t have an answer at the ready. “I’d best be on my way.” The sun was beginning to peek over the horizon. “Before my Secret Service detail realizes I’ve slipped out.”

President Nixon turned to leave. He took a few steps and then turned back to face Emily. “I’ve just had an idea. Are you hungry? Would you like to have breakfast with me?”

“You mean, like, in the White House?”

The President grinned. “I have the best chef. What would you like? You can have anything, anything at all. After all, I am the President.”

“This isn’t some sort of photo op, is it? You know what I mean, antiwar activist sees the error of her ways after breaking bread with the President.

“I see what you mean. It would sure look good in the papers. Lord knows I could use a good story in the papers.” The President chuckled. “No. No photos. No press release. You have my word.”

And so it came to pass, on Sunday morning, before taking a bus back to Long Island to bury her mother, Emily had breakfast with the President. Mr. Nixon had poached eggs and corned beef hash with a cup of coffee, black. Emily had blueberry blintzes and a cup of chamomile tea. And all the while, they argued about the war.

“Would you like seconds?”

But she had put it off long enough. “I’m needed at home.”


Excerpt from Hit Or Miss by Jeff Markowitz. Copyright 2020 by Jeff Markowitz. Reproduced with permission from Jeff Markowitz. All rights reserved.



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